Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hugs ease pain.

Much research has been undertaken to prove what we have always suspected, hugs make us feel good. Touch has long been part of traditional healing. Now it's benefits are the subject of research in mainstream medicine.

Touch and warmth release oxytocin which helps us cope better with pain. Work at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences has examined the way oxytocin can induce anti-stress-like effects such as reduction of blood pressure and cortisol levels. It promotes growth and healing and it increases pain thresholds. Oxytocin can be released by various types of non-noxious sensory stimulation, for example by touch and warmth.

Other research findings suggest that not only does touch lower stress levels, but that it can boost the immune system and halt or slow the progress of disease.

The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine has carried out studies into touch and found evidence of significant benefits.

Work at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina supports other findings that touch and massage can cut levels of stress hormones. Touch many also increase levels of melatonin and the feel-good hormone, serotonin.

Good reasons to keep hugging.

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